Several funding measures approved by Austin officials May 18 will send around $2 million toward workforce development, child care and early childhood education in Central Texas.

The details

Three contracts totaling $1.85 million will go toward education for aspiring medical workers and training and supporting local child care staff. The items include:
  • $1 million to Workforce Solutions Capital Area for child care worker stipends centered on employees in programs serving children on financial scholarships
  • $500,000 to Capital IDEA for workforce development services for low-income health care students, including eight pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing and five seeking to become licensed dental hygienists
  • $351,270 to Together4Children for workforce development training for child care workers
How we got here

During last year's budget talks, District 10 Council Member Alison Alter and several of her colleagues called for Austin to boost its funding of workforce and job training by several million dollars in line with civic economic goals.

“There is no functioning or productive economy in Austin without our child care staff," Alter said May 18. "I’m excited by this investment and that we are poising child care workers for success, and in turn that we are increasing the retention and recruitment of this critical workforce which keeps our child care facilities open to meet our families’ needs."

The three items approved this month come in addition to multiple existing funding commitments Austin's Economic Development Department now has in place with several local organizations, which in total are expected to serve thousands of clients.

The contract items approved this spring were funded through EDD and Austin Public Health.

“Supporting the child care workforce promotes access to affordable, high-quality child care in Austin and encourages people to return to the labor force. Additionally, providing training opportunities for health care workers helps our workforce level up and ensures that our growing community continues to receive the care they need," EDD Director Sylnovia Holt-Rabb said.

Early education

In addition to the workforce and child care support, council also voted to help Austin, Del Valle and Leander ISDs open a total of eight new pre-K classrooms for 3-year-olds. The APH-funded items include:
  • $48,000 to Austin ISD for three classrooms
  • $64,000 to Del Valle ISD for four classrooms
  • $16,000 to Leander ISD for one classroom
“We know how hard it is to find high-quality, affordable child care in this city, and this council yet again is showing our support, doing all that we can in ensuring that we have accessible, affordable, high-quality child care in every corner of this city," District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes said. "I’m particularly excited that we are also expanding our investments in pre-K3. For the first time, we’re going to work with Austin Independent School District, Del Valle and Leander [ISDs] in providing pre-K3 classrooms and helping supplement their efforts. It’s an incredible opportunity for Austinites, and I’m excited to see that move forward.”